Third time an enchantment
The Indian School School District capital improvement referendum was approved on Thursday. February 13.
“I can’t express relief,” said Superintendent Mark Steele.
It was the district’s third attempt in about a year to raise money to alleviate overcrowding, particularly at Sussex Central High School. A February 2019 referendum drew about 7,000 voters and failed with over 650 votes, while a May 2019 attempt drew just over 9,200 voters and failed with 65 votes.
The latest referendum attracted over 12,000 voters, of which 7,536 overwhelmingly approved.
“I want to offer my heartfelt thanks to our audience for supporting this important initiative,” said Steele. “We are grateful that IRSD residents recognized the need for additional classroom space and approved our plan to solve overcrowding problems by building just one new school. The district worked diligently to present a proposal that would address enrollment growth while providing the best value to taxpayers. By approving this proposal, we can provide the best possible learning environment for Indian River School District students for years to come. On behalf of our students, staff and the Board of Education, I want to thank everyone who supported this referendum. You truly care about the best interests of our students. “
The success of the referendum means that the district will be able to temporarily raise property taxes to build a new Sussex Central High School. Millsboro Middle School will move to the existing high school and the current Millsboro Middle School will be converted into an elementary school.
Right now, there are over 1,800 students at Sussex Central High School, designed for 1,500. The new Sussex Central High School will have a capacity of 2,200 students and should be built within four to five years.
The new building will be approximately 309,799 square feet and built on properties already owned by the district, alongside the existing high school north of Millsboro.
“We will still have to buy some trailers or rent them, there is no way around it for the next four years,” said Steele. “Now we know there is a light … at the end of the tunnel. The rest we can make sure we plan.”
Steele also indicated that if minor additions are needed in the district in the coming years, reserve funds will be available.
“I want to retire without having to make multiple referendums,” he said.
When the new school is built and Millsboro Middle becomes available for use as an elementary school, the frequency lines will be redesigned.
“With all the building we’ve had, it’s going to be an easy catch. Some of the developments are so big, it could just be a road around a development that allows us to drag enough children from one school to another,” he said. said Steele. “But we have four years to work on it.”